I spent 10 days in the Easter holidays in Kirn, a small town in Rheinland Pfalz, lying beside the Nahe. Kirn used to have large brewing and leather industries; one brewery and one or two small leather workshops remain. Some other industry has come to the town to replace that lost but most people now seek employment outside the town and commute daily to Mainz and other towns. The town is situated on the edge of the Hunsrück and so is also cultivating “Wandern Tourismus” (walking tourism). The countryside around is especially attractive to anyone with an interest in geology and castles. The town itself is quiet; an attractive wide stream runs through part of it and empties into the Nahe. The industries of earlier times were situated close to this stream and it would then have been heavily polluted with dyes. Today the quiet tree-lined streets above and either side of this stream are probably the most sought-after streets in which to live in the town. I spent most of my time walking and stopped occasionally to sketch. Here are the sketches:
This shows a part of the town drawn from above on the path coming down from the Oberhausener Dolomiten, a ridge of impressive rocks above Kirn. On the other side of town are large sandstone cliffs. I used a new Japanese fineliner (Kuretake) for this which I had expected to be permanent so I avoided colour in the foreground and it is darker than I would have wished. It is, however, a lovely drawing pen and can produce a varied tonal wash.
The following day, the people I was staying with drove me to the Schmidtburg, north of Kirn and I spent a couple of hours there drawing before walking back. The sketches that follow are slightly abbreviated versions of the originals because they cover a double-page spread and my scanner doesn‘t….. When my current watercolour sketchbook is finished, I may invest in an A4 so that everything appears on one page. It looks OK in the sketchbook but doesn’t always reproduce well.
I took a trip one sunny afternoon to the delightful town of Meisenheim. I spent most of the time wandering through the narrow streets and admiring the many half-timbered buildings. Meisenheim lies beside the Glans river; I spent a while drawing the landscape around the weir.
This sketch led to a holiday mini-project. In Germany, particularly, drawing the landscape almost always means including trees, often lots of them densely packed together. As I was drawing in Miesenheim It occurred to me that I needed to find some convincing shorthand ways of drawing trees which are interesting in themselves and not only a green mass, which my trees tend to be. This will be the subject of another post.
Another day, I visited Schloss Daun, which is a large castle outside Kirn, now used for seminars and so on. The grounds can be visited most of the time. This sketch was made from the courtyard outside the castle. The village of Daun lies partly below the castle so I caught a few rooftops. The problem of drawing a forest here was solved by relegating it to the background as a pale wash.